Lipp Law outlines significant employment law updates applicable to Virginia workplaces below.
Employers operating workplaces in Virginia, or with remote employees working from their Virginia residences should know these new Virginia employment laws.
In 2019, Virginia enacted a statute prohibiting employers from requiring incoming and current employees to execute confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements that would prohibit employees from disclosing sexual assault claims against the employer. Under the law, employers are banned from requiring employees to conceal claims against employers arising out of Virginia’s laws on rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery.
Effective July 1, 2023, Virginia expanded the law to include a ban on employers from requiring incoming and current employees to execute confidentiality and non-disparagement agreements that would force the employees to conceal sexual harassment claims, as well. The law defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or crates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” The 2023 amendment likewise includes a ban on non-disparagement agreements that effectuate the concealment of employees’ sexual assault and sexual harassment claims against the employer.
Because Virginia’s law bans confidentiality, nondisclosure, and nondisparagement agreements that are a “condition of employment,” it remains to be seen whether Virginia’s judiciary will interpret the law as also applying to post-employment agreements, such as severance agreements.
Must Employers Provide Organ Donation Leave in Virginia?
Yes. Starting July 1, 2023, Virginia employers with 50 or more employees must provide employees—who have worked for the employer for at least 12 months and 1,250 in the preceding 12 months—with up to 60 business days per 12-month period of unpaid organ donation leave and up to 30 business days per 12-month period of unpaid bone marrow donation leave. These new leaves cannot run concurrently with FMLA leave and have no impact on employees’ ability to take FMLA leave.
Can the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) Issue Subpoenas?
Yes. Starting July 1, 2023, VEC attorneys have subpoena power for document production or witness testimony related to investigations into or adjudications of disputed claims for unemployment benefits. Parties served with VEC-issued subpoenas may file motions to quash. Virginia employers should be aware that they may receive a subpoena related to former employees who file for unemployment benefits.
Can Virginia Employers Use Employee Social Security Numbers as Identification Numbers?
No. Starting July 1, 2023, employers are prohibited from using employees’ social security numbers, “or any number derivative thereof,” as employee identification numbers. If employers knowingly violate this law, they could be fined civilly up to $100 per violation.
If you are a Virginia employer or a Virginia employee needing assistance with Virginia employment law issues, Lipp Law can help. Contact Lipp Law today to ensure legal compliance with Virginia employment laws.
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